Daniel O'Malley, The Checquy Files,
The Checquy Files is a series of novels written by Daniel O'Malley and currently comprising two volumes. It's another one of these urban fantasy novels in which a governmental organisation is dedicated to the supernatural (along the lines of the PC Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch or, in a scifi setting, The Laundry series by Charlie Stross). And like many many (many) of those novels, it takes place in London...
When Myfanwy Thomas wakes up, she's in a park, under the rain, and corpses surround her. It turns out that Myfanwy has so complete an amnesia that she doesn't remember at all who she was before, and it feels like being born again. She finds in her pocket a letter, written by the previous Myfanwy who gives her choice: either she flees to the other end of the world with money she has saved for this eventuality, or she finds out who she was.
But circumstances decide for her and she has to become the previous Myfanwy who worked for The Checquy, an ancient governmental agency which fight the supernatural forces that threaten the United Kingdom.
The first volume is a real delight: it's funny, well written, the plot is decent and the characters are well drawn. The fantasy aspects are various, sometimes they're original, and the mystery is entertaining.
The rub is with the second volume: the central characters are different, which may be a bit early in the series. But worst of all, the two main characters have internal monologues that are horribly identical in their tone and style to those of Myfanwy in the first volume. What was funny and well thought of in The Rook starts to become déjà-vu in Stiletto.
Nonetheless, it'd be a pity not to give a try to the series because the first volume is really well done. We can hope that O'Malley will find a new voice for his future novels and, in the meantime, The Rook is a a very enjoyable read for whoever likes light hearted (but sometimes gory) urban fantasy.
If you've liked The Checquy Files, you may also like
Do you want to know about more books like The Rook? Subscribe to the newsletter and receive twice a month updates about our latest reviews and blog posts.